Where the Ewoks Live
When trying to describe what Tikal is like, it is always easiest to mention that it’s the area where the Ewoks live in “Return of the Jedi”. This ancient place in the deepest jungles of northern Guatemala is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, but this seems less illustrious than its setting in the Star Wars films. As you wander through this impressive Mayan ruin, it does have an otherworldly feeling that makes clear why George Lucas was such a fan of it.
Tikal (Tik’al in modern Mayan orthography) is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in Guatemala. A trip to this terrific territory in Central America is not complete without visiting this amazing wonder.
We recommend a two or three night stay, allowing you time to explore the region. Tikal itself takes a full day, and there are plenty of other experiences in the area to enjoy, such as riding the various jungle trails on horseback, or kayaking and swimming in the pristine waters of Lago Petén Itzá, famous for its dramatic changes in colour, shifting from cobalt blue to a green turquoise hue in an instant.
We love Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha, situated on the lake, or for those looking for a bit more adventure, Ni’tun is a special place on its own private reserve, with more rustic accommodation and a great host in Lorena, who cooks tasty local food from her impressive kitchen. All these bonuses aside, Tikal is definitely the main attraction here, and whilst exploring the marvellous temples in the National Park, be sure to scale the heady heights of Temple IV. That epic view out over the forest makes you really feel like a Jedi.
Anton keeps his own lightsabers in his London home, but is wiser than Yoda in his knowledge of Guatemala and Latin America. Get in touch with him to plan your own pilgrimage to the land of the Ewoks.